Nairobi, April 20, Prostitution remains one of the shunned and quite secretive human trades its popularity not notwithstanding. Despite support from crusaders and activism from human right bodies, many governments around the world consider prostitution to be illegal. Carmen Munoz set up a retirement home for former prostitutes.
“Like sand through the hourglass… So are the days of our lives”, eventually and inevitably, time finds a way to turn us old. Where do prostitutes go when age renders them unproductive? What happens when you are no longer earning a living on the streets and your services in the brothels are needed no more?
Shunned at home and without the benefits of formal employment such as retirement benefits, prostitutes are likely to face it rough during their sunset years. This inspired Carmen the Mexican and former sex worker herself in 2006 to find a shelter- a retirement home – for the former sex workers.
The retirement home aimed at providing food, shelter, and dignity to the retired prostitutes. It a safe haven that gives them peace of mind and spiritual nourishment. Most of those housed are homeless prostitutes who are at least 55 years old. Their only payback for the accommodation is by assisting in the maintenance of the facility.
When the time finally comes and death visits, the residents give their loved one a decent send off. At times, a handful family members join in the burial ceremony. These are the things that the retired prostitutes cannot be accorded elsewhere at old age. The home is their last fortress on earth. A reflection and repentance frontier – before death beckons them home.